How To Smash Your Short Film - 5 Tips - Raindance

When you go about creating a short film it can be a strangely overwhelming experience at first, Equipment, locations, crew, talent, shot lists are just a few of the organisational challenges you need to overcome. And you really want to smash your short film.

When you have a story to tell, the reality of making it happen can often come down to logistics. Being in the right place at the right time to film and ensuring the right people are there to allow you to carry out your artistic endeavours.

But with careful planning, simplification of resources and taking advantage of modern tools, it means making your film in 2018 is more realistic than you might have thought.

Here are 5 tips to smash your next short film

1.Plan and research

Before you get into your filming you need to have done your research. That means checking out locations, having plans so that when you get to shoot you know what you are going to be doing, with who and at what time.

2.Take advantage of modern tools

Smaller cameras, portable battery powered lights are all tools that recently became available and allow you to render fantastic quality at low costs. Be aware of the limitations of using smaller set ups and plan for it.

When Stanley Kubrick started making his first documentaries he had to calculate how much film he planned to shoot and rent 35mm film cameras. Now with a modern DSLR’s you can shoot to an SD cards swapping them out for new cards when filled.

3.Don’t get trapped by technology

What is on the other side of the lens (what you are shooting) will have a greater impact than the camera and lens you use! Don’t hold out for a camera then leave set design, props, and lighting to be superseded with the vision of using that expensive Alexa or Red camera.

4.Use what is available to you

When starting out one of the crucial parts to planning your film is being realistic. See what you have around you to use, then use those locations, people and props. This was the mentality used by Robert Rodriguez when he made El Mariachi with a borrowed camera and a tortoise and before this he used family members as actors.

5.Have a plan but keep your options open

When shooting It’s great to have a plan. But when the plan is clearly not working make sure you allow creative decisions to happen. Some of the best moments in cinema have come from un-planned but free flowing activities. Also be aware of weather. It can change your plan! but as in the Florida Project when a rainbow was spotted in the background of the Motel. They quickly shot a scene that could utilise its visual impact.



Olly is a Director of Photography from the West Midlands, UK. He is a member at Raindance and has a passion for narrative as well as documentaries. He is currently working on some short films and is looking to take onboard features in the near future.
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